Solicitations for a Sept. 12 fund-raising reception in Washington on behalf of ailing Sen. Tim Johnson give the impression he will be present at the event, but in fact there are no such plans.
Sources close to Johnson say he will not decide his schedule until he is back in the Senate, and there is no firm schedule yet for that. Johnson has not been seen publicly since suffering a brain hemorrhage last Dec. 13, but his staff has been raising funds for his re-election campaign in South Dakota. His campaign has $1.75 million cash on hand.
The $1,000-to-$2,300-a-ticket reception will be held at the home of Johnson's fellow South Dakotan, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and his wife, transportation industry lobbyist Linda Daschle, on Foxhall Road millionaire's row in Washington. It has been speculated that if Johnson cannot run, Daschle could attempt a political comeback.
And will Daschle get to keep the money meant for Johnson to run for South Dakota Senator while residing "on Foxhall Road millionaire's row in Washington"?
Todd Epp is starting to rub off on me. Here is the latest bad news for a client that Linda Daschle lobbies for:
The State Department has prepared civil charges against Boeing alleging 94 violations of the Arms Control Act because the company sold commercial airliners without obtaining an export license for a tiny gyrochip that has defense applications.
The company faces a potential fine of as much as $47 million, and the case could be another blow to the company's fragile relations with the federal government.
Chad Schuldt…quick…check the Federal database of lobbying reports. How many involve Linda Daschle and Boeing. And Randell Beck…she doesn’t work on military issues for Boeing? Only commercial?
Chad Schuldt must be wondering…why didn’t Linda Daschle say something about this and had it put to a stop?
And Todd Epp…get a hold of the SD MSM. We need to let the people of South Dakota know what is going on in Washington DC. We need to know what American sacrifices the Daschle’s will make to line their pockets with money. Oops...Tom Daschle is a Democrat. The SD MSM won't cover it. Never mind Todd.
From a 2002 WorldNetDaily report titled, "Mrs. Daschle's lucrative lobbying, Is Washington activity of senator's wife conflict of interest?":
Mrs. Daschle's lobbying activities as senior public policy director of the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman and Caldwell have received only a small amount of press scrutiny, save for an account in the Washington Monthly earlier this year. Her lobbying activities surfaced again recently because of a controversial proposal before the Senate to lease military aircraft from Boeing – a client of Mrs. Daschle since 1998, according to federal records.
Dan Crippen, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, has estimated that the Boeing lease plan would cost the government $37 billion for the use of 100 Boeing 767s over a 10-year period. The deal is controversial because, according to CBO estimates, the outright purchase of the same airplanes would cost only $25 billion, and they could remain useful for 20 to 30 years.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the leading critic of the leasing deal, has called it "war profiteering," and charges that the deal "has nothing to do with national defense and everything to do with taking care of Boeing."
Sen. Daschle has not made any public statements on the Boeing lease plan, but must, as Senate majority leader, decide whether and when to schedule a vote on the matter, since McCain pushed an amendment through the Armed Services Committee that may doom the deal.
But regardless of the merits of buying or leasing Boeing aircraft, the fact remains that Sen. Daschle, in his official capacity, cannot help but make decisions by which his wife's clients may gain or lose millions, or even billions, of dollars. In the case of some of the major government contractors Mrs. Daschle represents, Sen. Daschle's official acts could ensure or undermine their future economic viability. In the case of Boeing, for example, the Senate will consider the re-authorization of the Federal Export-Import Bank by the end of May. Boeing perennially receives more than 40 percent of the bank's funds.
In a written response to questions posed by Human Events, however, Daschle did not answer a question about his own ties to major aviation interests and government contractors for whom his wife – Linda Hall Daschle – lobbies, and from whom he thereby benefits financially.
In previous interviews, Daschle has defended this arrangement. In May, he told Human Events he saw no conflict of interest in scheduling and taking Senate votes that bring revenue to his wife's clients.
"My wife doesn't lobby in the Senate at all," he said. "She has limited her activities to the House, and I think that's appropriate."
Daschle also defended his involvement in one particular Senate vote last month – to reauthorize the federal Export-Import Bank – from which Mrs. Daschle's client Boeing stood to gain millions of dollars in federal loans and loan guarantees for its overseas business.
McCain should think twice about making a deal with Democrats. Rush provides us with how Tom Daschle reacted to Trent Lott’s friendly show of bipartisanship:
I mean, let's not forget who Trent Lott was. Trent Lott, after the disputed election of 2000, and this has nothing to do with Connie Mack, gave the Democrats an equal number of committee chairmanships because of the fisticuffs practically, going on after the Florida aftermath. People were just fit to be tied. The Democrats were out there saying, "Bush is illegitimate. He was selected, not elected." They're still saying that, by the way, and so Lott, to try to extend a hand of friendship and to show his Democrat buddies that he's a good guy and a reasonable guy, split committee assignments. Now, he didn't need to do this because with Dick Cheney on any tie vote, we could break it with the vice president, 51/50. And then after Lott did that, Tom Daschle, to show his appreciation for the magnanimity then went over and convinced Jumpin' Jim Jeffords to leave the Republican Party so it became 50/49 won and the Democrats ran the place without Cheney's tie vote. That's Trent Lott.
Among the latest to walk through the revolving door is former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was defeated in a bitter re-election fight last year by up-and-coming Republican John Thune. Daschle has joined a well-connected Atlanta-based law and lobbying firm, Alston & Bird, whose other notables include former Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas, the former chief of the government's Medicaid program, and a longtime adviser to 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
If only Congress could show that kind of bipartisanship. Many top lobbying firms now make a point of employing people from both sides of the political aisle. That's one of the ultimate ironies of today's Washington: Bipartisanship is now more valued among the special interests than it is among the elected officials sent here to do the people's business.
Daschle is barred from lobbying his old colleagues for a year, but in announcing his hiring, his new employer said he would give "policy advice" to clients. Translation: He'll provide an insider's road map on how clients can get their interests stoked and stroked in Congress. Daschle's new firm said he may not become a registered lobbyist per se, but he will if he follows the Dole model.
No one in this town ever expected retiring public servants like Dole or Daschle to return to the Kansas and South Dakota plains of their homes. Both are married to accomplished Washington insiders. Elizabeth Dole is a senator from North Carolina and veteran of several Republican administrations. Linda Daschle is a high-powered lobbyist.
In their defense, both men have remained involved in issues near and dear to their home states: Dole in agriculture and school lunch issues, Daschle in the problems of American Indians.
But the expectation that public service naturally evolves into lucrative, private influence-peddling is having a long-term corrosive effect on Congress' standing with the American people. The revolving door spins, even as Congress is wracked by bitter partisan fights over judicial nominations, increasingly polarized over the ethics of Republican House Leader Tom DeLay and gridlocked on important legislation like a national energy policy.
No wonder the public this month has given Congress its lowest approval rating since 9/11.
RUSH: I have a story from our old buddies at Newsmax right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. Does the name "Loral Space" mean anything to you? Loral Space? Yeah, Bernie Schwartz was the CEO at Loral Space. Let me give you just the short version of this. The State Department used to -- we're going back to the nineties and the Clinton administration, in the early nineties and prior -- the State Department used to oversee the granting of permits of American companies being granted permission to help foreign countries. When the Clintons took over and installed Ron Brown into the Commerce Department position, they shifted that responsibility from the State Department to Commerce. At about this time, the ChiComs were testing the ability to launch rockets and missiles that carried payloads into orbit, and the ChiComs are having trouble achieving orbit. They launched one of these rockets and it failed to achieve orbit, it plummeted back down to earth -- no news on the environmental damage -- and they asked for Loral Space to come over and help them analyze the problem. And, lo and behold, since Loral Space and Bernie Schwartz were huge contributors to Bill Clinton in the Democratic Party, Ron Brown said, "You want to go help the ChiComs; go help the ChiComs." He gave them the waver and Loral went over there to help them figure out how to put something in orbit. That's why we've always said here that without the Clinton administration the ChiComs would be 30 years behind us in missile technology.
Well, here's the latest from our buddies at Newsmax, and the headline: "Kerry's Chinagate - Loral Money Going to DNC: "Loral Space and Communications has hit hard times in recent years. On June 28, a Sea Launch Russian Zenit-3SL rocket failed to put the Loral Telstar 18 satellite into a proper orbit." So much for their help to the ChiComs. "Loral officials stated the big telecommunications satellite had enough on-board fuel to reach a proper orbit but the failure typifies a long series of wrong turns for the ailing satellite firm. In 2002, Loral Space reached a settlement with the State Department over charges of passing advanced military technology to the Chinese Army," the story I just told you about. It was the Clinton administration that authorized that. "Loral agreed to pay $20 million in fines, but did not admit nor deny wrongdoing. In 2003, Loral declared bankruptcy. The aerospace giant that sold for $72 a share in 1996 watched as its shares tumbled to less than 20 cents a share. Yet, despite hard times for its investors, Loral's CEO Bernard Schwartz has managed to cough up over $4 million in political donations for the Democrats and non-profit 527 organizations..."
You want to stack all of this stuff up against Tom DeLay? You want to put all this stuff side-by-side with what Tom DeLay is being accused of? He hasn't done anything that they've proven. He's not been convicted of anything, just been accused. "Doesn't pass the smell test," they say. What the hell is the smell test if it's not being fined for passing military secrets and technology to the ChiComs? And these people agreed to pay a $20 million fine for doing it! Didn't admit anything wrong, of course, and they didn't deny doing anything wrong. And then they're out there raising all this money despite the share price falling from 72 bucks to 20 cents a share, contributing $4 million to the Democrats, and you know that John Kerry got a lot of that.
The foundation is the mom-and-pop operation among the four main organizations — the others being the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and People for the American Way — that are leading the legal battles to push God from the public square and create a nation in man's image.
Television and film producer Norman Lear, together with Barbara Jordan, the former Democratic congresswoman from Texas, founded People for the American Way in 1981. Their purpose, according to their mission statement, was "to counter the growing clout and divisive message of right-wing televangelists, including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Jimmy Swaggart."
People for the American Way criticized Mr. Robertson's 1988 presidential run; opposed the Supreme Court nominations of Robert J. Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991; and sponsored a 1998 advertising campaign against President Clinton's impeachment. More recently, it started a $5 million advertising campaign to pressure Senate Republicans to back down on reforms of filibuster rules that would hasten confirmation of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group, the Lear organization's political action committee gave $177,802 in the 2004 election cycle, 98 percent of it to Democratic candidates, party committees and leadership political action committees.
The group's political action committee, Voters Alliance, donated a total of $42,500 to 18 Democratic House candidates and $54,000 to 15 Democratic Senate candidates. The largest contribution: $10,000 to the losing campaign of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
While it seems the Senate Democrats will continue the legacy of their fallen leader in regard to judicial nominations, the question turns to gun rights:
"The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" was introduced this year as S. 397 in the U.S. Senate, and H.R. 800 in the U.S. House. This critically important, NRA-backed legislation would protect law-abiding firearm manufacturers from reckless, predatory, and potentially bankrupting lawsuits.
In 2003, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" passed the U.S. House of Representatives on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 285-140, enjoyed more than 50 Senate cosponsors, and had the full support of President Bush. Sadly, the legislation was torpedoed in the Senate in 2004 by anti-gun zealots, including former Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who helped his fellow anti-gun Senators attach a number of anti-gun amendments to the underlying measure.
Let’s not forget Daschle campaign’s hunting ad where he looks into the camera and claims he supports the Second Amendment. That was among the biggest lies of the 2004 elections.
We now have a paid blogger on the left crying about the misinformation regarding Daschle’s new job. He wants us to believe this AP report:
Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle plans to put his 26 years of experience in Congress to work at an Atlanta-based law firm as a public policy adviser in Washington, D.C.
Daschle, who lost a re-election bid in November to Republican John Thune, said he won't lobby for Alston & Bird LLP, but will advise its clients on topics with which he's familiar.
"I want to continue my involvement in the public policy issues that I care a great deal about. Those issues include energy, Native Americans, health care, international trade, agriculture and technology," he said Sunday in a telephone interview from his Washington home.
Nice spin job Tommy. OK then Tommy, let’s see the lobbying reports on behalf of pharmaceutical companies with John Thune’s name on it. Oh, he worked for a lobbying firm that represented the pharmaceutical company. So that counts? It did last year. So which way do you want it? This Daschle guy always wants to have his cake and eat it too.
Then let’s take a look at this excerpt from the Argus Leaderreport:
Daschle, who will maintain a home in South Dakota, said he was attracted to Alston & Bird in part because of the firm's willingness to let him pursue outside projects.
Notice how the Argus Leader sneaked in the "who will maintain a home in South Dakota". OK Mr. Paid-Daschle-Blogger…take a look at what your prized AP report says: "he said Sunday in a telephone interview from his Washington home".
There you have it fair and balanced. I leave it up to my readers if they want to call Daschle a DC special interest lobbyist or not. I am sure he won’t say a word to any of his former colleagues. I am sure he won’t say a word to Linda. There goes all the parties at the mansion too. Oh yeah, Daschle will not attempt to have any influence on Congress...just ask him.
The Argus Leader finally did a report on what Tom Daschle says in South Dakota versus what he does in DC:
Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, following a bipartisan path blazed by many prominent ex-members of Congress, is joining Alston & Bird as a special adviser in the law firm's legislative and public policy group.
Daschle, 57, the former Democratic leader in the Senate, told the Washington Post that he will start work today providing the Atlanta-based firm's corporate clients strategic advice about such issues as energy, health care, financial services, tax policy, trade and agriculture.
After the 2004 election, Daschle told the Argus Leader that he had no plans to become a lobbyist.
He was recruited by another former Senate leader, Republican Bob Dole, 81, who joined the firm as a special counsel in 2003.
The Argus Leader’s transistion to fair and balanced would have been more complete if they would have covered the Daschle campaign’s attack toward Thune’s lobbying activities. In fact there is a connection with Bob Dole as reported in the Rapid City Journal on October 26, 2004:
The Daschle campaign criticizes Thune for his own lobbying efforts.
Thune owns a lobbying firm.
Dole's famous husband, Bob, once a powerful senator, also works as a lobbyist, but Thune stepped in to answer a question posed to Dole about legislator-lobbyist couples.
"The issue isn't what Bob Dole or Linda Daschle do for a living," Thune said. "This is about the truth. Tom Daschle, in the waning days of the election, will say and do anything to get elected."
Thune said the Daschle campaign had falsely accused him of lobbying for pharmaceutical companies, in part through telephone "push polls" that use leading questions to sway voters.
Daschle campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer denied that the Daschle campaign had ever used push polls, and he also denied that the Daschle campaign had specifically called Thune a lobbyist for drug companies. Pfeiffer said the campaign is pointing out that after Thune left the House of Representatives, he worked for a law firm that represented the pharmaceutical industry. "That was his career choice," Pfeiffer said.
Instead of pointing out Daschle's hypocrisy, the Argus Leader described the act as "following a bipartisan path". I wonder what all those Daschle supporters that attacked Thune for being a lobbyist are thinking right now? I wonder if they will hold Daschle accountable for everything his firm represents, past and present?
One more thought: Why didn't David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, cover this in yesterday's column?
These are all questions that Todd Epp won't answer. Or will he?